Min. of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Hon. Michael Pintard encouraged a group of high school Apprenticeship Programme participants in Grand Bahama to “find their passion” and allow that passion to pay their bills, thereby positively change lives.
Speaking at the launch of the new programme on Saturday, January 9, at the New Life Worship Center, Minister Pintard said that vocational professions are rapidly becoming the primary jobs generating revenue that exceeds traditional occupations.
The apprenticeship programme was started by Dominick Roach and the New Life Worship Center, and has been designed to teach students of grades 7-12 about various vocations, including culinary arts, auto mechanics, plumbing, computer technology, electrical engineering and carpentry. Classes will begin in two weeks on Saturdays, with some 20 students facilitated by professionals in various fields who have volunteered their time to the programme. Minister Pintard told the high schoolers that such apprenticeship programmes are about self-empowerment.
Minister Pintard told the participants that Bahamians must learn to own the rock on which they stand, but pointed out that such ownership will only come about through the work of those who possess the skill sets. The Minister admitted that his generation and the one before him did not seize some key opportunities for skill development needed in The Bahamas. He said now is the time to prepare the next generation to take advantage of those opportunities to take the country to another level.
“My future, in large measure, depends on you young people and on the next generation. So, we are asking you who will be taking part in this programme to show up, listen and learn and stand firm.” Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama K. Peter Turnquest, who also spoke at the apprenticeship programme, pointed out that back in the seventies vocational education was a key part of the educational system.
However, he noted, somewhere along the way it was determined that everything was more about academics and so the talents of many were neglected or pushed aside because focus was taken off vocational training. “That was to our disadvantage,” said Mr. Turnquest. “I believe we are where we are as a result of the abandonment of those programmes.
So, for New Life toreintroduce those programmes back to the community means that they are moving in the right direction.” “I want to thank the Instructors who have committed to this programme because it’s a major sacrifice. So I congratulate you for that.”